Prior to leaving for CBLI (Central Bible Leadership Institute), we had five days of peaceful quiet. Trevor spent from Sunday through Thursday at his grandmother's house. It seems horrible to say, but all of us enjoyed the quiet. I accomplished so much more than usual. Bryce and Sean spent loads of time cuddled in with each other on the couch or bed playing with I-Pods.
Amazingly, Grandma said that Trevor was as good as gold. The moment we arrived (Thursday night), he began showing off for his brothers. It was good to know that he behaved for Grandma, but it sure would be nice if we had a bit less attention seeking here in our home. Ha!
We spent the night there Thursday and then headed for CBLI on Friday morning. Before we left, Trevor showed us the helmet and knife Grandpa used during World War II:
He also presented Sean with some gifts that Grandma allowed him to buy: a necklace (broken within an hour - sob,sob) and this "adorable" shirt (?).
We were placed in Sandpiper cabin again this year, which meant a huge walk up a steep hill several times each day. It also meant no Internet access. However, the real plus to Sandpiper is the close proximity to friends and a lounge to watch movies in (I watched "A Beautiful Mind" in the evening while the boys slept) and play. Of course, there's always the hallway, too:
The boys were really pleased with their classes. Trevor's kid's track featured loads of exploratory science experiments. They made slime, dropped eggs from a tall ladder (attempting to avoid breaking), decorated a t-shirt, and investigated owl pellets (yuck). He also loved the daily trips to the pool.
Sean's 4s and 5s class studied bugs and God's creation. Sean even was able to hold a tarantula, with no squeamishness at all. At the end of camp, they always present a video about what has gone on in the small children's classes. This year they asked the fours and fives questions designed to get "kids-say-the-darnedest-things" kind of responses. Sean delivered when he answered their question of who the Commissioner is. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up? Tall! You can view this here It is a short, five minute video.
The boys also enjoyed the carnival on Wednesday. They played games and had their faces/arms painted. With tickets won at the games, they were able to buy some cool prizes (like a Paper Jamz guitar, Hot Wheels cars, etc.).
As for me, perhaps I was just in the right place for things to mesh, but I would say this was the most productive year for me, spiritually, in a long time. I appreciated Commissioner Ken Baillie's instruction during the Bible Study time (didn't miss one - a first). Plus, I really gained a lot from Linda Himes' class on Titus. It was a precept class. Generally, I find this method of study quite tedious with all the focus on individual words and the circling and underlining and noting. However, when it comes to Linda Himes' classes, she always manages to bring us around by the final class to a place where the whole thing gels into a complete picture. For me, I liken it to a painter, painstakingly making little dots on a canvas, until in the end it reveals a bigger picture that is beautiful and uplifting. More than anything, I believe these two classes stirred within me a passionate desire to get back into the Word of God more fully (and more daily).
I was also thrilled with the leadership of Major Steve Yoder. From the outset of the first evening meeting, he did a fabulous job of making everyone feel welcome and included. After getting things off the ground, Linda Himes led us in a massive game of Bunco (new for me). Even though it was a bit intimidating at first, it provided a wonderful ice-breaker so that we left feeling we had made connections with the other adults at camp. Usually, it takes me about three days to feel a sense of belonging at CBLI. This year, Steve and Linda produced that feeling by the end of the welcome meeting.
But my favorite day of all was the second Friday. On that day, one of my married friends, Tom and Cheryl, offered inclusion in a Ladies Day Out. Tom took on numerous children (ten to twelve, I'm guessing) and supervised them (with the help of the lifeguards) at the pool, while us ladies went into Antioch, Illinois.
We began our time at a delightful ice cream shop, then posed for a funny photo in front of the tattoo parlor (humorous because some of us are Salvation Army officers), then investigated an interesting jewelry shop (bedecked with posed mannequins that made me slightly uncomfortable - ha) and rounded out our time at the local thrift shop (where I found an educational insect game, three workbooks, a Thomas Kincaid print and a frame - all for about $6). This is the kind of thing that I just don't get enough of these days and I thanked Tom and Cheryl profusely!